People tend to get giddy around the fantastical glass works of Dale Chihuly (perhaps this is why casinos can’t seem to get enough of him), so expect Bay Area denizens to be unusually upbeat this summer. Saturday marked the opening of San Francisco’s first major exhibition of the artist’s work, and it’s a big one. On view at the de Young Museum through September 28, the show encompasses 11 galleries of new and archival works spanning the last four decades. The artist calls it “the most ambitious show I’ve created to date.” Besides chandeliers with such evocative titles as “Orange Hornet and Eelgrass,” the show features a recreation of Chihuly’s 1972 white milk-glass and neon installation as well as a 56-foot-long mille fiori garden of glass forms that only look like they’re growing.
Building buzz for the exhibition have been Chihuly’s three site-specific installations that debuted in April at both the de Young and the Legion of Honor Museum. The de Young has a 30-foot neon “Saffron Tower,” which rises up like an glowing amber French fry from the museum’s Pool of Enchantment (just what we need for UnBeige HQ, which is lacking in both swimming facilities and enchantment). At the Legion of Honor, a three-tiered chandelier and a pinched tower of blue and green tendrils are installed in the Rodin sculpture galleries while outside, Rodin’s best known work (“The Thinker”) ponders Chihuly’s 14-foot yellow orb entitled simply, “Sun” (pictured above). Click “continued…” to see photos of the other installations.
All works by Dale Chihuly, 2008.
Photos by Terry Rishel.
“Aquamarine Three-Tiered Chandelier”
“Sea Green Tower”